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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Aug 2020 - 14 Aug 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Jul 15

J Neuroendocrinol

The neurohypophysial oxytocin and arginine vasopressin system is activated in a knee osteoarthritis rat model.


Nishimura H, Kawasaki M, Suzuki H, Matsuura T, Baba K, Motojima Y, Yamanaka Y, Fujitani T, Ohnishi H, Tsukamoto M, Maruyama T, Yoshimura M, Nishimura K, Sonoda S, Sanada K, Tanaka K, Onaka T, Ueta Y, Sakai A
J Neuroendocrinol. 2020 Jul 15:e12892.
PMID: 32761684.


Osteoarthritis (OA) causes chronic joint pain and significantly impacts daily activities. Hence, developing novel treatment options for OA has become an increasingly important area of research. Recently, studies have reported that exogenous, as well as endogenous, hypothalamic-neurohypophysial hormones, oxytocin (OXT) and arginine-vasopressin (AVP), significantly contribute to nociception modulation. Moreover, the parvocellular OXT neurone (parvOXT) extends its projection to the superficial spinal dorsal horn, where it controls the transmission of nociceptive signals. Meanwhile, AVP produced in the magnocellular AVP neurone (magnAVP) is released into the systemic circulation where it contributes to pain management at peripheral sites. The parvocellular AVP neurone (parvAVP), as well as corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), suppresses inflammation via activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Previously, we confirmed that the OXT/AVP system is activated in rat models of pain. However, the roles of endogenous hypothalamic-neurohypophysial hormones in OA have not yet been characterised. In the present study, we investigated whether the OXT/AVP system is activated in a knee OA rat model. Our results show that putative parvOXT is activated and the amount of OXT-monomeric red fluorescent protein 1 positive granules in the ipsilateral superficial spinal dorsal horn increases in the knee OA rat. Furthermore, both magnAVP and parvAVP are activated, concurrent with HPA axis activation, predominantly modulated by AVP, and not CRH. The OXT/AVP system in OA rats was similar to that in systemic inflammation models, including adjuvant arthritis; however, magnocellular OXT neurones (magnOXT) were not activated in OA. Hence, localised chronic pain conditions, such as knee OA, activate the OXT/AVP system without impacting magnOXT.